“Catastrophic injury” is a term heard frequently in personal injury cases. Oftentimes, it’s a detail that can drastically affect the outcome of a lawsuit or settlement.
Because it is such an important element, you would be wise to gain a basic understanding of what exactly qualifies as a catastrophic injury — especially if you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit. Keep reading to find out what is considered a catastrophic injury.
Table of Contents
- How Catastrophic Injury Is Defined
- How a Catastrophic Injury Will Affect Your Case
- Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
- How an Attorney Can Help You Prove a Catastrophic Injury
How Catastrophic Injury Is Defined
What is considered a catastrophic injury varies by state. However, the general idea is that a catastrophic injury is one that leads to disability or premature death. The American Medical Association definition of catastrophic injury includes any damage to the brain, spinal cord, or spine.
When an event leads to a serious injury, death is sometimes the result. In that case, a personal injury lawsuit could instead become a wrongful death suit. As long as you can prove that another person’s recklessness, negligence, or malicious behavior caused a death, you can pursue compensation.
Permanent Disability Injuries
When a person’s spine or brain suffers an injury, the damage can have permanent effects. Not only does a disabling injury affect a person’s quality of life, but the medical costs can be quite high as well.
Disabling injuries can take many shapes and forms. Essentially, an injury is catastrophic and disabling when it leaves a person:
- Seriously disfigured, scarred, or deformed
- Incapable of continuing to work in their previous profession
- In need of lifelong accommodations or care
If you find yourself in this situation, you could be entitled to hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars in restitution.
However, you should keep in mind that disabilities range in severity. The term “relative catastrophic injury” refers to the fact that different injuries affect people differently.
For example, being unable to bend a knee will have much more serious consequences for a professional dancer than it would for a person in business. The full impact of a catastrophic injury will be taken into consideration when negotiating a settlement or filing a lawsuit.
How a Catastrophic Injury Will Affect Your Case
Oftentimes, personal injury lawsuits are capped at a certain amount of damages a person can sue for. But if you can prove that your injury was catastrophic in the ways mentioned above, you may be able to make a claim for more.
Essentially, the amount of money you are eligible for will reflect the amount to which your injury has affected your daily life.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Again, a wide variety of injuries may qualify as catastrophic. But certain injury types are more likely to cause death or leave someone with permanent effects.
Catastrophic injuries examples include the following:
- Severe burns
- Loss of limb injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic orthopedic injuries
If you are facing years of medical treatment and lost wages, the odds are high that you have experienced a catastrophic injury. The best way to determine whether you have a case is to contact a personal injury lawyer directly.
How an Attorney Can Help You Prove a Catastrophic Injury
To receive compensation for a catastrophic injury, you must prove that the injury exists and is the result of negligent, reckless, or malicious behavior. A personal injury lawyer will help you collect evidence of these facts and present them in court.
Catastrophic injuries are most often the result of a car accident, medical malpractice, or a workplace accident. For a case to be successful, you must be able to prove the following:
- The other party owed you a duty of care not to cause harm
- The duty of care was breached in a way that a reasonable person could have avoided
- The breach of care caused your catastrophic injury
- You suffered quantifiable damages (medical bills and lost wages) because of the injury
If you need help proving any of these details, a personal injury lawyer will serve as a valuable resource.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines